According to the latest glass recycling industry data published today by the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE), the average glass recycling rate in the European Union has risen above 70% for the first time.
This means that over 11 million tonnes were collected throughout the European Union in 2011.
This achievement follows major efforts made in all EU Member States over the past few years to meet the EU’s 60% recycling target for glass, a level that was reached by all the relevant countries by 2008.
Some of them recorded particularly outstanding results. The UK continues to make steady, if more modest progress at just over 60%.
Other countries are in good shape to meet the target within the later fixed deadlines, while for some there is still potential to improve.
All participants in the glass-closed loop have contributed to these good results. The glass industry has designed, manufactured and marketed containers to be effectively recycled in a closed loop system.
They have also effectively communicated good recycling practices to consumers. Collection and processing schemes have also been extended and improved, while the public has also been made aware of the importance of collecting more glass.
“We have no problems in absorbing more recycled glass provided that this is of high quality. Glass recycling is the key component of the circular economy - because recycling closes the loop," stated Stefan Jaenecke, FEVE President.
Each time a bottle or jar is recycled into new containers, energy and raw materials are saved and less CO2 is emitted. 80% of glass collected for recycling is used over and over again to produce new glass bottles in the closed loop system.
By recycling glass, in 2011 in the EU:
* 12 million tons of raw materials (sand, soda ash, limestone) were saved.
* 7 million tons of CO2 were avoided equal to taking 4 million cars off the road.
* A saving of 2.5% energy for each 10% of glass recycled in the furnace.
More needs to be done to collect the remaining 30% of used glass that currently is wasted, and to promote a circular economy that suits the ambitious vision of the European Commission to build a ‘zero waste’ and ‘resource efficient’ society.